Stallone pleads guilty in hormone import case

Updated on May 15, 2007 04:48 PM IST
Sylvester Stallone pleaded guilty and apologized for illegally importing 48 vials of banned human growth hormone into Australia in February.
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Reuters | By, Sydney

Sylvester Stallone pleaded guilty on Tuesday and apologized for illegally importing 48 vials of banned human growth hormone into Australia in what he called a "strange and truly unfortunate occurrence".

Stallone's lawyer, Phillip Boulten, handed a letter to a Sydney court in which the actor admitted two charges of importing a prohibited substance when he arrived at Sydney airport from the United States in February on a promotional tour.

"I made a terrible mistake. Not because I was attempting to deceive anyone but I was simply ignorant of your official rules," Stallone wrote in a letter to the judge.

Stallone, 60, was not in the court for the hearing, during which the judge was told the actor threw four vials of testosterone out of a Sydney hotel window during a later raid on his room by Customs officers. He will be sentenced on Monday.

Government prosecutor David Agius told the court Stallone's actions suggested an awareness he had broken the law.

But Boulten said Stallone was taking hormone under doctors' supervision for a medical condition not revealed in court or in Stallone's letter.

"This is not some back alley body builder dealing covertly with some banned substance in some sort of secret way," he said.

Stallone said he felt terrible his unintentional breach of customs laws had "set a poor example to members of the public whose opinion I cherish dearly", adding he enjoyed his trip despite his brush with the law.

"It was a hard learned lesson and an eye-opener that the world is a complex society and knowing the rules of your intended destination is of paramount importance," Stallone wrote.

"I wish to express my deepest remorse and again apologize for my actions."

The Australian Customs Service charged Stallone with two counts of importing a prohibited item when he was detained at Sydney airport on February 16.

Customs said the 48 vials of prohibited human growth hormone were found in his luggage. The maximum fine for the offence is A$110,000 (US$91,600).

Stallone left Australia on February 19, after a three-day visit to promote his new film, Rocky Balboa, bound for Thailand to shoot his latest Rambo movie.

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